Child development and milestones: your 37 month old child

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Your 37 month old toddler's brain is ready to absorb all the knowledge and skills!

So your 37 month old child just finished celebrating his third birthday and suddenly he is bursting with enthusiasm to learn new skills and things! It is almost as if your child's brain is like a sponge just waiting to be filled with new experiences. As part of 37 month old development and milestones, your little one is so much more independent now. Let's take a look at what to expect this month. 

37 Month Old Development and Milestones: Is Your Child on Track?

Physical Development

37 month old development and milestones

Your 37 month old little one is growing up really well so far. With his improved gross motor skills, your child now is so much better and faster at moving – meaning more climbing up and sliding down on their own in the playground this month. This also means you can start to breathe easier now instead of watching over him like a hawk.

Added control over his fine motor skills also means being able to use safety scissors and trace simple letters. Other fine motor skills to expect in your 37 month old child include being able to carry drinks with minimal spilling, turning pages in a book, as well as dressing and undressing without assistance. It might take a few days of practice, but he'll also be able to put on and take off a jacket independently.

You might want to give your child an early start and teach him the proper way to hold a pencil. Some children of this age might be able to do this right about now. Nevertheless, do not let your child be discouraged if he can't. Continue to encourage him, and he should be able to do it soon enough.

Tips: 

  • Your child may continue to exert his independence by trying to do certain things on his own. Sometimes, he might need someone to help, other times he will succeed without much effort. Still, patience is key when you step back and allow him to figure it out on his own.
  • To strengthen your child's pincer grasp, try providing him or her with coloured beads or buttons to sort according to colour. But remember to supervise him when doing this activity as small items can become choking hazards.
  • Give your kid a wide selection of arts and crafts materials for drawing, cutting and pasting.
  • Quiet books may not be so popular anymore today, but they are really great for fine motor skills especially if the designs include buttons, zippers, snaps and laces.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • When your child frequently falls, has difficulty with stairs or has trouble manipulating small objects, consult your paediatrician.

37 month old development and milestones

Cognitive Development

Despite still being unable to distinguish between real and fantasy, your little one's role-playing is becoming more and more realistic. He might play doctor or copy you by playing mum! He can even make up his own simple stories and make-believe with dolls and other toys.

Rejoice, because your child can more or less understand the flow of daily routines and follow simple instructions. What's more, he knows the concepts of "one" and "two", so you can also ask him to do very simple tasks. 

However, rounding up your little one and getting him ready to go out can still be a hair-pulling experience if he chooses not to listen. For now, he only has an attention span of four to eight minutes, so try not to drown him with too many instructions at once. Your child may still find it quite challenging to combine two activities at the same time. Be patient and praise him when he does understand, and within a few days he will be able to understand two directions given one after another.

Tips: 

  • Let your child practice sorting by getting him to pair clean socks from the laundry. Chores can be done faster (hopefully) and your little one gets to learn numbers. Win-win!
  • Introduce games involving counting and opposites. 
  • Flashcards that teach him about animal sounds, shapes and colours are great too!

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • Speak to your paediatrician if your child is unable to build a tower of more than four blocks or doesn't engage in pretend play.

Social and Emotional Development

37 month old development and milestones

As part of 37 month old child development and milestones, your little one can play better now in a group by taking turns, sharing and even co-operating. 

What's new this month is your child's ability to greet familiar adults, so what better time to work on some basic manners! Soon your little tot might be saying "please" and "thank you" without any prompting!

Your child would have already experienced a broad range of feelings, like jealousy, excitement, fear, happiness and anger. This is part and parcel of a 37 month old child's developmental milestones. Despite being more even-tempered and cooperative now, your little one may still occasionally have his or her moments of frustration.

Tips:

  • Be sure to encourage play dates with friends he regularly plays with.
  • Keep praising him when he takes turns during everyday routines. This positive move will greatly encourage him.
  • If he still finds it hard to share and take turns, you can try playing simple games that require turn-taking, e.g., simple card games like Old Maid. Not only are they a fun way to teach him about taking turns, it also teaches him to follow rules.
  • Be available and give your chatty little one your full attention when he is talking. Your interest in what they have to say will help him to feel loved and secure.
  • Light responsibilities/chores not only teach him to help around the house, they will also make him feel like he has a special and important role in the family.
  • Parents can teach their kids about acceptable ways to cope with frustration and anger by being good examples themselves.
  • Talk to him when trying to understand why he is throwing a tantrum. Your child will feel more supported when dealing with negative emotions.
  • There are plenty of children's books that can teach him to better understand his own emotions and also to empathise with others, such as Grumpy Bird and Glad Monster, Sad Monster. 

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • Warning signs include when your kid shows no interest in interacting with other children and if he regularly makes poor eye contact.

Speech and Language Development

37 month old development and milestones

Spontaneous, lively, and talkative are adjectives that characterise a 37 month old child. It might be annoying to listen to those questions 24/7, but don't expect those inquisitive questions to stop anytime soon! However, do make a point to be mindful of your actions and words because they will be copying every little thing you say and do.

There's nothing more your child enjoys at their 37 month old development mark than books, simple songs, nursery rhymes and even talking gibberish. But a surefire way to encourage improvements in his language skills is to continue reading and talking to him.

Currently, he should have an average of about 900 words and can usually form five-word sentences. Aside from recognising certain letters and words, your child may also be able to follow three-part commands and, after a few rounds of practice, use pronouns (he, she, it), as well as prepositions (over, on, in), accurately.

Tips:

  • Stick to reading his favourite books before bed.
  • Flashcards and repetition will help your child to memorise words and phrases.
  • Try playing the "I Spy" game along with the alphabet.

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • When your child drools persistently or doesn't speak clearly, schedule a visit with your doctor.

Health and Nutrition

37 month old development and milestones

It is important for parents to help their kids develop a healthy attitude toward eating at an early age. Right about now he is likely to use eating or not eating as a way to be defiant, although generally, mealtimes with your child should be more manageable as he grows older. Parents can then start to enjoy family meals with a little less drama! 

It is okay if your child has strong preferences for certain food. You can always encourage him to try new ones without forcing him. What's more important is offering nutritious food choices at every meal, giving him leeway on how much he wants to eat.

Most children will be about 85.0-107.2 cm tall and weigh between 10.0-20.7 kg. Depending on their size and activity level, children at this age need about 1,000-1,400 calories a day. 

Your 37 month old child's daily nutritional need is about 4-5 ounces with half of it from whole-grain sources, 1½ cups of vegetables, 1-1½ cups of fruits, 2 cups of milk and 3-4 ounces of meat or beans.

For grains, 1 ounce equals: 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal.

For meat, 1 ounce equals: meat, poultry or fish about the size of a matchbox, ¼ cup cooked dry beans, or 1 egg.

Remember that your child's meals don't have to be fancy. In fact, they might actually prefer a more simple preparation.

Offering your child the best possible nutrition is important, but do remember that their immune systems are still developing. Watch out for red flags that persist, like fever, vomiting or diarrhoea. It is also important to keep an eye out for skin rashes and to check with the doctor immediately should he have any. Do ensure that he receives vaccinations for childhood diseases like chicken pox, measles, whooping cough and mumps.  

When to Talk to Your Doctor: 

  • When your child doesn't seem to be gaining any weight. 
  • If your child's symptoms (coughing, fevers, diarrhoea, etc) persist for a few days or appear different than normal (such as mucus in stools or hoarse coughing).
  • When your child appears to have a red rash. Rashes could be a sign of a serious or contagious disease and so should always require the attention of a medical professional.

*Please note that development milestones vary from child to child. If you have any concerns regarding your little one's growth, do not hesitate to consult your paediatrician. 

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